10 Jun 2011

Ireland’s former finance minister Brian Lenihan dies

Brian Lenihan, the finance minister who led Ireland through the financial crisis, has died at the age of 52. He passed away at home surrounded by his family after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Ireland's former finance minister Brian Lenihan dies. (Getty)

Brian Lenihan will be remembered for his attempts to steer the Irish economy through its deepest recession, resulting in an 85 billion euro bailout.

As recently as November 2010 he was issuing fighting talk, insisting Ireland had not been forced into making the plea for help – suggesting instead the loan would act as “firepower” for his country.

Mr Lenihan left government in February this year when his Fianna Fail party lost the general election. He was first elected to the Dail parliament in April 1996 in a by-election caused by the death of his father.

Mr Lenihan’s aunt Mary O’Rourke, a former TD (MP) and Senator, praised her nephew’s work in government.

“It’s all over. It’s kind of unbelievable,” she told RTE Radio.

“He always worked for his country and he worked for the best of Ireland and I suppose in the end what anybody in public life would wish to do, and that’s what he did.”

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She added: “I just feel my life has almost ended, I really do.”

Mr Lenihan died at home with his family at his side after a battle with pancreatic cancer.